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15 July 2023 (Sat), 19:00 Russian National Ballet Theatre - Classical Ballet The Sleeping Beauty (ballet in 2 acts with prologue)

Running time: 3 hours 10 minutes (till 22:10)

The performance has 2 intermissions

Schedule for The Sleeping Beauty (ballet in 2 acts with prologue) 2022

Choreography: Marius Petipa

Orchestra: Symphony orchestra of the Summer Ballet Seasons

Classical Ballet in 2 acts

The Sleeping Beauty, a crowning jewel of Marius Petipa’s career, is often considered the finest achievement of the Classical ballet. It is a grandiose and refined blending of the traditional mime, expressive pas d’action and spectacular divertissements in a lavish theatrical setting. Tchiakovsky was delighted with the invitation to write the music for a ballet based on Charles Perrault’s well known fairy tale. A baby princess, condemned at her christening by an evil fairy to prick her finger and die on her 16th birthday, is saved by the gift of the good Lilac Fairy, who declares the princess will only sleep until awakened by the kiss of a prince. The fairy tale replete with a king and queen, fairies both good and evil, a beautiful princess and dream prince, magical stage effects, and courtly splendor, lent itself perfectly to the full evening ballet that was Petipa’s pride.

Although different productions have cast the kingdom of King Florestan and his queen in varying centuries, it is really a storybook kingdom set in the realm of the imagination. In the Prologue, the hall of the palace where the christening is about to take place is resplendent with color, and imposing with its high ceilings and great stone archways. The master of ceremonies, pages, heralds, ladies in waiting, and finally the King and Queen all promenade into the royal setting, looking most distinguished in their elaborate dress. Next, the fairies of the kingdom join the scene of courtly pageantry with the Lilac Fairy, six cavaliers and maids of honor entering last. All dance in honor of the King and Queen and baby Aruora, about to be christened, Each of the fairies dances her own solo, presenting a gift to the Princess. The dances of no real dramatic significance are an example of Petipa’s use of the well timed divertissement. Just as the Lilac Fairy finishes her dance a strange and frightening rumble is heard. Its meaning soon becomes clear: the master of ceremonies has forgotten to invite the evil fairy Carabosse! The grotesque woman, her face a white mask, her long dress black and tattered enters in a huge black coach drawn by four ugly rats. Stepping down, she gesticulates with her hand and threatens with her stick that they will have to pay the price for their omission. In mime, she delivers the ominous curse that the Princess will prick her finger on a spindle and die. The master of ceremonies is in disgrace, the King and Queen are in despair. But the Lilac Fairy has not given her the gift. She steps forward and assures the royal court that on her 16th Birthday the princess will indeed prick her finger, but then fall asleep for 100 years. Carabosse speeds off in a rage while the others surround the infant’s cradle as if to protect her from further harm.

The Sleeping Beauty was the first of Petipa’s classics to be seen in Western Europe. Under the title The Sleeping Princess, it was presented by Serge Diaghilev (1872-1929) in London in 1921. In 1939, it was remounted in Great Britain and has been considered the foundation of the Classical ballet repertory in that country ever since. It has now been adopted worldwide, and performance of the leading role remains a kind of initiation rite for aspiring ballerinas.

The Sleeping Beauty is a supreme demonstration of the challenge of Petipa’s style - steel point work, sharply accented spinning turns, soaring leaps, high extensions, brilliant battery (beats in the air), daring lifts and, in addition, it gives a fairy tale plot lavish stage treatment. However, its production actually checked a growing tendency toward shapeless extravaganza in 19th century ballet, adhering closely to the principle of choreographic symphonism: meaning that, like the composition of a symphony, it had a certain formal structure. The Sleeping Beauty was choreographed in strict association with Tchaikovsky’s music. There are themes developed and resumed throughout the ballet, and each act is a unity unto itself. Tchaikovsky willingly took instruction from Petipa as to the length tempo and character of each musical sequence ( as he would also do in The Nutcracker). The themes - a young girl’s coming of age and the triumph of good over evil are developed dramatically and musically during the course of the ballet. Each of the three acts includes an adagio for Princess Aurora, the first celebrating her girlhood, the second her falling in love, and the third her marriage. In these pas d’actions, Petipa makes fuller use than previous choreographers of the dramatic potential of the Classical ballet, as for example, when Aurora’s curved (questioning) attitudes become sharp (exclamatory) arabesques and her balances grow steadily surer.

Music For Ballets Fragment 1 Fragment 2 



In the palace of King Florestan, there is a festival in honour of the christening of the newborn daughter, Princess Aurora. Accompanied by the courtiers appear happy parents and guests. Good fairies endow the hero of the occasion with the best human qualities, predicting her good fortune. The holiday atmosphere is disturbed by the invasion of the evil Fairy Carabosse. She was forgotten to be invited, and therefore she takes revenge on the offenders: she predicts that the beautiful princess will be killed by a needle. The Lilac Fairy softens this curse: Aurora will not die, but will only fall asleep. The day will come when the young prince, fascinated by the beauty of the girl, will bring her back to life with a kiss.


It's been 16 years. Guests gathered again. Here and sovereign princes - contenders for the hand and heart of the young Aurora. They are amazed by her beauty. The princess is equally friendly with everyone. In the midst of the holiday, Aurora receives a bouquet of roses from a stranger and dances with him in ecstasy. But there, it turns out, the needle is covered. Suddenly pricking the arm, the princess loses her strength and drops dead. Such was the offering of the Carabos Fairy. She triumphs - her curse has come true. The Fairy of the Lilac comforts everyone. Aurora is only sleeping and will be in a dream for a hundred years. So that nothing has changed for the princess, everyone falls asleep with her. The kingdom plunges into sleep. The park is overgrown with bushes. In their thick lock more often hides.

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In the palace, a magnificent ball on the occasion of the wedding of Aurora and Desiree. Among the guests are fairy tale characters: the Puss in Boots and the White Cat, Princess Florina and the Blue Bird, the Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood, the Ogre and the Tom Thumb.

The newlyweds are also congratulated by the Fairies of Gold, Silver, Sapphires and Diamonds, overshadowing their future with well-being. In the apotheosis - universal rejoicing. He is crowned by the Lilac Fairy - the personification of the triumphant good.

Schedule for The Sleeping Beauty (ballet in 2 acts with prologue) 2022

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